Archive for the ‘beverly hills’ Tag

Across LA: Beverly Boulevard

So for the third year in a row, I participated in the Great Los Angeles Walk, an annual event that’s been doing on for more than a decade, usually involving a crosstown walk on one of the many major boulevards. This year it was Beverly Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard.

It’s most interesting in the first eight miles, as Beverly goes through the remnants of the old Filipinotown, parallels the Hollywood Freeway, then gets progressively upscale as it curves gently through Hancock Park’s mansions, Fairfax, and ends in Beverly Hills. It merges with the wide Santa Monica Blvd., and then adopts a more suburban, freeway-like character as it drops elevation towards Santa Monica. Happily, it ends in pedestrian-friendly territory, passing the busy Third Street Promenade. There are interesting murals scattered throughout, and overall it’s a pretty colorful, and not traffic-choked route through town. As usual, I walked it barefoot, pushing my limits as I covered a rather punishing 19 miles over 7.5 hours.

Bob Baker Marionette Theater, mural

Historic Filipinotown mural

The original Tommy’s, with the legendary chiliburger and the bathroom trip.

Googie, dingbat, whatever you want to call it. Classic LA!

The endangered CBS studios, classic midcentury architecture

And the end of the road, with a pretty sunset in Santa Monica

 

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Across LA: Olympic Boulevard

Each year the Great Los Angeles Walk picks a crosstown major arterial, and in November 2015 it was Olympic Boulevard. So walk 16 miles across a city reputed for being pedestrian unfriendly? Why not? I spent many weekends in LA in 2015, exploring the bridges, the hidden sidewalks, the stairways, and got a new appreciation for a city I’ve always loved.

So I met up with a rather large crowd at the recently renovated, kitschy Clifton’s Cafeteria on Broadway, which opened an hour early just for this event. And after some introductory remarks, we were off. The route was initially south on Broadway, then a jog over to Main Street and Olympic, and then it was due west for a good 7-8 hours until we met up with the beach at Santa Monica. Like many of the main arterials, Olympic is a slice of the ethnic diversity of the city, much of it felt in the first 3 miles of the route where it’s a spectacular collision of Korea and Latin America, visually stimulating and chaotic. The rest of it is less interesting, passing through the rather pedestrian-unfriendly Century City and a few historic neighborhoods and HPOZ (historic preservation overlay zones) near Beverly Hills. The stretch within Beverly Hills is extensive, but is a world away from the Beverly Hills that is seen on TV and in the movies- it’s the middle-class, unexceptional side of the city, and mostly residential. The demographic is mostly upscale after Koreatown, including neighborhoods like Rancho Park, Country Club Park, and Santa Monica.

I was one of the slower ones, stopping at a friend’s house to chat, then stopping for a leisurely lunch at the legendary Tom Bergin’s about midway through the walk.

A good way to start the walk, beautiful blue skies and morning light on the Eastern Columbia building on Broadway

A good way to start the walk, beautiful blue skies and morning light on the Eastern Columbia building on Broadway

Clifton's Cafeteria on Broadway, recently and beautifully restored

Clifton’s Cafeteria on Broadway, recently and beautifully restored

Commercial chaos, Olympic and Western

Commercial chaos, Olympic and Western

Persian flavor, Westside

Persian flavor, Westside

Helios House, the future of the gas station!

Helios House, the future of the gas station! Olympic and Robertson

Century Plaza Towers, Minoru Yamasaki (1975)

Century Plaza Towers, Minoru Yamasaki (1975)

Well, most of the crowd did not make it all the way back to the beach, I got there just after sunset, my legs and feet sore from a crazy walk across town. Never done it before, can’t wait to do it again, there’s no better way to explore the City of Angels.

Santa Monica, fading daylight, are we there yet?

Santa Monica, fading daylight, are we there yet?